The Captain on the Bridge with Ailisha Zarai

Out the viewports of the empty bridge, the Cherenkov blue hyperspace tunnel shifted and spun. They'd be inside the tunnel for an hour, crossing dozens of light years to Ulthar space. Aurelius told him that most of his crew were somewhere in the forward cargo areas, and that Jaedon and Dr. Jurran's robot were alone in the sickbay; the only crewmember nearby was the science teacher, Ailisha Zarai, who was coming into the bridge now.

The Captain looked up from his chessboard, on which he was locked in a tough match with his ship's main AI. He took a rook and turned to the older woman, who was just approaching. "Good evening, Ms. Zarai."

After the common repartee was out of the way, she began to ask him what her duties were and where she would be staying. Up on the catwalk, just below the forward viewport, was her station, nestled in a cozy alcove in the niche between the starboard viewport and the forward viewport. "Your duties will be very simple, Ms. Zarai: you must control probe scans, scan hyperspace routes, and scan other vessels, as well as take copious notes on the races and species we are to discover. Your position is very important to all of us, as this information can be sold for much in the Core Worlds, thereby bolstering our final credit payout. Though they may not know it yet, you hold the final say in whether their credit accounts will reach into the billions, or only just the millions... but I doubt they are clever enough to give you the proper respect for it until that day comes.

"As for your sleeping arrangements, I am currently having Aurelius draft sleeping arrangements based on each crewman's psychological profiles, choosing which two will fit the best together. The list will be given out once every crewman has signed my E-waiver. Columbus O. Nimbus, Mr. Donva, and Dr. Jurran have yet to."

He winced as Aurelius took his queen... with a pawn. He hadn't been paying attention.

"I am sure many crewmen intend to forego those crew rooms I have chosen for them and find themselves their own lodgings somewhere aboard the ship. This, of course, will be bad for business so..." he leaned in close to her, "...we will have to make it cold for them." The Captain pointed to a line of hidden dials beneath his chessboard, which controlled temperature in many parts of the ship. He winked to her.

It was their little secret.

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